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Published on : Monday, December 19, 2016
Since Tourism Ireland came into operation in 2002, some 25.3 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating £5.5 billion for the economy.Highlights of Tourism Ireland’s activity around the world during 2016 have included promoting Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, Belfast and Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as Tourism Ireland’s award-winning Game of Thrones campaign in the spring and a successful campaign to capitalise on Euro 2016.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “2016 looks set to be the best year ever for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Northern Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. We highlighted Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, with launches in New York, London, Glasgow and Dubai. And, our award-winning Game of Thrones campaign reached some 61 million people around the world. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors everywhere to read, hear or watch positive messages about Northern Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated £104 million in equivalent advertising value.”
Earlier this month, Tourism Ireland launched its marketing plans to promote Northern Ireland in 2017 and beyond, with a target to welcome 2.15 million visitors to Northern Ireland. This figure will represent growth of +3.4% over 2016 and deliver £557 million to the Northern Ireland economy (+5.6%) next year.
Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “We are heading into 2017 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2016. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland, highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will also promote Belfast, in particular for shoulder and off-peak travel. We will continue our successful partnership with HBO, to highlight Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage. And, Tourism Ireland will also leverage the tourism benefits of major sporting events, including the Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club in July and the semi-finals and final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which will take place in Belfast in August 2017.”